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A Q&a with Rose Windows, Seattle’s Latest Hard Hitting Hippies

Posted on the 13 June 2013 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie


Photo by Alison Scarpulla

Seattle band Rose Windows describe themselves as “hard hitting hippies”, a phrase that perfectly compliments both the heavy guitar and delicate flute featured in their psychedelic folk. Recently signed to Sub Pop, this septet is quickly making waves with their unique tracks and high-energy live shows. We chatted with Drummer Pat Schowe to discover more about this mysterious group. Among other things, we discussed burger managers turned bassists, Black Sabbath, playing shows in Sushi Bars and New Orleans.


How did Rose Windows come together?

Pat Schowe: Well if we’re going way back. 4 years ago Chris [Cheveyo] and I (main songwriter), lived in San Antonio. Being from San Antonio, seeing bands come in and out, we saw this history of dead ends there. I decided, I’m kinda done with it here, and I asked who’s coming with. Chris tagged along, so we moved up here and continued with this [heavy post-rock] project we were working on. A friend introduced us to Nils [Peterson] who was his boss at a burger joint. He started playing bass for us, but we didn’t know what we were getting into and ended up kind of dissolving. We had taken a break a little bit when Rabia [Qazi] came into the picture. We moved to a house where we all lived at some point and formed this new thing, made these cool songs. He had an idea and just sort of went with it. We started writing in this shitty basement… with only an amp and terrible mics. It was kind of a struggle at first. We were a lot heavier; you can kind of see the bleed off from our previous band. Our first couple shows were scrappy, drunken and messy. Then we found the sound we have now.

Speaking of, your sound is really unique. What influences you?

It definitely spans the globe. For me as a drummer, I look at African styles and weird out there kind of stuff. A little bit older. I just really like the 60’s/70’s sound — a big variety from Black Sabbath to Sun City Girls. I don’t like to speak for the whole band about musical taste since we all kind of have our own, but when it comes together, there’s nothing we’re ever gonna turn down. We’re all open ears to whatever. That’s kind of hard to find with seven people.

How do you find balance having seven band members?

It’s hard. A lot of it has to do with Nils; he’s the papa of the band. He kind of rallies the troops, calls everybody, makes sure we’re all okay. I’d say being on the road helps us stay balanced and focused. When we’re back home we like to do our own thing for a while, but all have it in us to play again. We’re all friends to begin with, and it will always be that way.  

You just went on tour! How was it?

A lot of fun. There were hills and valley. We got to play with some great bands like La Luz. We also played with this band from Cali called Zig Zags. They jumped on for 3 shows and those particular were probably the worst shows we played. I’m sure they expected a little more out of what they got. We played this Sushi Bar in Fresno. The guy running the bar was cruel, he wouldn’t give Rabia a glass of water for free — had to pay for it. People were eating sushi while we were playing. It was really weird — it was the lowest of all the shows.

How was playing Sasquatch?

Being the first band of the day, we knew what we were getting into, but people kept trickling in, and they were a really receptive audience. It was a good time, and it was a beautiful day.

You guys just signed with Sub Pop. Congrats! How has it been working with them?

The best. I couldn’t really ask for anything better. Anything we ask for or have questions about, they’re there. It’s the coolest staff of people. They’re not just business partners; they’re people that we’re developing long lasting relationships with.

Your debut The Sun Dogs drops June 25, what can you tell us about the album?

It’s a journey. You can feel the cohesiveness, but it kind of stands taste in a way that anybody from the age of 5 to 90 can appreciate. It’s the best thing I’ve ever worked on. We’ve been able to work on it with such great people, I couldn’t ask for a better record really. It’s a special thing.

What’s your favorite track on the record?

I love them all. I like “Wartime Lovers”. I like the content; I like the feel of it. It’s sort of poppy, but there’s a little bit of humor and sarcasm in the lyrics too. I don’t wanna say it’s a backhand toward certain idealisms, but you can listen to it and open your eyes a little bit.

What can we expect from Rose Windows in the future?

Just a lot of touring — we want to be on the road as much as possible. Hopefully a European tour, then come back and bust out another fucking album.  We’ll be recording a new record fairly soon. We already have 12, 13 new songs. They’re not all completely put together musically-but the skeleton’s definitely there. I think our idea was to go to New Orleans and record there.

Why New Orleans?

There’s a cool thing that New Orleans does — they give a 30 percent off tax break to anyone that plays music. If you go there, they’ll pay for 30 percent of your flights and recording time, things like that. Plus, it will be cool to have that kind of feel. Our next record is definitely going to focus a lot on the groove, and there’s definitely not much better a place than New Orleans to find that.

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